Muskoka To-DAILY

Gravenhurst draft budget includes $27,000 to rename arena ‘Kris King Centennial Centre’

GRAVENHURST – More than $2 million in capital repairs to the arena and a $27,000 cost to rename of the arena the ‘Kris King Centennial Centre’ are among proposals in the town’s 2014 operational and capital draft budgets.

Among the operations increases is a half a per cent more to cover early winter snow plowing and to address last July’s wind storm damage.

The operational budget would see the base budget increasing to $10,108,466 from $9,945,970 in 2013.

That’s an additional request of $162,496 for a 1.6% increase over last year.

But that could go up if more than $3 million for 22 proposed capital projects are approved.

Part of that cost is $1.5 million for a new arena floor and half a million for a new rink roof.

And there’s a move afoot to spend $27,000 to rename the arena “after a significant local sportsman.”

Speculation is that it’s former NHLer and ex-Maple Leaf Kris King, who has had a hockey school here for 25 years.

But maybe not this year, as the ice surface is to be torn up this spring for new refrigeration and resurfacing work – and work won’t likely be complete by the time of his school in late July.

Or new speculation is the arena could be renamed after sledge hockey gold medalist Graeme Murray, who is off to Sochi later this month after the Olympics for the Paralympic Games.

Following months of annual deliberations, including open sessions last month, town staff presented their figures to the public Saturday Feb. 1 at the town hall from 9 a.m. to noon.

After that meeting, on Monday and Tuesday some changes were made before the combined budget is presented to council for final approval and the adoption of a budget bylaw at 1 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10.

“Council has been very thorough in their review of this year’s budget, as it should,” said Dave Weldon, chief administrative officer, in a news release Tuesday, Feb. 4.

According to the budget summary, within the 2014 base budget the following items are included:

  • • Continued implementation or the organizational restructuring in accordance with council’s direction;
  • • Increase in volunteer firefighters salary component in accordance with council’s direction;
  • • Additional funds to repay the improvements to the Terrence Haight Carnegie Arts building as approved by Council;
  • • Increase costs associated with winter snow plowing and removal;
  • • Required increases to salaries in accordance with Councils direction;
  • • Increases to the various building utility costs based upon projected or actual adjustments.

As requested by council, supplementary items have been identified separately in the operational budget. These items include recommended improvements within the department area or suggestions proposed by council during the year.

Directors will provide an explanation of these proposals during presentations. Examples of supplementary request are the addition of 1% ($102,000) to the asset maintenance program, requests for funding to undertake efficiency review within the Finance area, Official Plan review and Community Improvement Program funding.

Capital Budget

Included within the budget package is a listing of potential capital or special project expenditures. This report “2014 Capital & Special Projects” indicated the estimated project cost and when the recommendation for funding approval is recommended the appropriate funding source is identified. The recommended 2014 program includes 22 projects at a cost of $3,089,000.

The recommended project financing is as follows;

Levy $717,000

Internal Financed $1,270,000

Federal Gas Tax Grant $290,524

Reserves $811,476

Watson said in his budget summary introduction dated Dec. 20, 2013, that new programs or service level enhancements being proposed are listed in the Column headed ‘2014 Supplementary Budget’.’

None of these items has been included in the base budget at this time.

Also included in this column are new programs or services approved by Council in 2013 for implementation in 2014, the most significant of which is the funding for the Downtown Revitalization program shown on page 71.

Subsequent to the preparation of this document, council, at its meeting on December 16, 2013 approved an additional $7,250.00 for that program as well.

Said Watson, meeting the ongoing needs to refurbish and rehabilitate aging infrastructure continues to be the most significant fiscal challenge facing the municipality.

He said the recommended 2014 capital budget strikes a balance between the need to complete significant rehabilitation projects and the town’s ability to fund them.

His report recommends council continue the initiative it began last year of adding an additional 1% to the tax rate in 2014 for asset maintenance projects. We are prepared to discuss both the capital items recommended for completion in 2014 as well as those that are proposed by staff to be deferred to future years.

To see the 2014 draft operational and capital budgets before Saturday’s public presentations, go to the town’s website at http://www.gravenhurst.ca/en/yourtownhall/budgets.asp

 

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